Calling All Hams (And Non-Hams)

We are quickly approaching Field Day 2012….less than 24 hours away, actually. Field Day is that time of year where hams, either individually or in groups, will try to make as many contacts as possible within a 24 hour period (starting at 2p EDT on Saturday, June 23 and ending 2p EDT on Sunday, June 24) using voice, Morse code, and various digital modes. I’ve participated in every Field Day event that my club, Tri-States Amateur Radio Club, has put on since I was first licensed in July 2007 with the exception of 2009 (but I did participate with a local ham radio club in Columbia, SC). It’s a great deal of fun for both hams and non-hams alike. Hams get to fellowship with fellow hams and talk to non-hams about the hobby. Non-hams are generally facinated at the fact of being able to talk to folks all over the country and the world on a wire and a radio pumping out around 50 to 100 watts (and sometimes less than that).

However, the event actually has a great benefit to us and our communities. This is generally an exercise on how well we can organize ourselves, put up our antennae, set up our stations, and be on the air with in a short time period. My county’s Emergency Management Agency director as well as the county’s Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) has been very gracious to allow us to set up at the fire station in front of Georgia Northwestern Technical College in Rock Spring. After the April 27th tornadoes, our county’s emergency services are working with our ham radio club and our Amateur Radio Emergency Services (ARES) group to get radios in emergency shelters across our county.

If you’re looking for something to do on Saturday or Sunday, stop by your local ham radio club’s set up and say hello. I’m sure they’ll be glad that you stopped by.



  1. Calypso says:

    Nathan, I looked around but could not find how you guys came to be called ‘ham’ radio operators. What’s the origin of the term, please?

  2. bkeahl says:

    I’ve always heard the spark interference explanation.

    I only put a few hours into actual operation this weekend, but I did help setup. I setup my ICOM 718 on some of my big backup batteries as an “Emergency Power” station, running an off-center dipole W3RWT built. Once I resolved a mic issue I made five contacts in about 15 minutes, which isn’t bad for an HF slow-poke like me. Apparently some of the other operators ran both batteries down to where we were running 40W by Sunday 10am and made tons of contacts.

    Nathan, great callsign!

    73, WX4BK

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